By Charlie Gillis - Tuesday, December 11, 2012 - 0 Comments
Gangs target financially successful families in the country’s ongoing drug war
In Mexico, Daniel Balcorta had it good. Three cars, a house with a pool, lavish meals at Cancun’s top restaurants—such were the perks of a successful realtor selling beachfront on the Yucatan coastline. A former professional soccer player, Balcorta had paired minor celebrity with a strong grasp of Internet commerce, and developed a thriving business catering to well-heeled snowbirds from the U.S. and Canada. “I even had a private jet I’d rent to fly around my clients viewing properties,” says the 34-year-old ruefully. “We lived a very comfortable life.”
One call to his cellphone would change that. It was Aug. 14, 2009, and the man with the raspy voice on the other end introduced himself as a representative of “the Company”—gangster-speak for Los Zetas, a notorious criminal cartel known throughout Mexico for drug trafficking and extortion. The time had come for Balcorta to pay, the man said, and the price was 500,000 pesos (about $50,000). “You must have the wrong person,” Balcorta responded, and he promptly hung up.
But the man called back, and thus began a month-long nightmare during which the gangsters called Balcorta and his wife, Maria, no less than 10 times demanding they pay up or else. When the Balcortas stopped answering, the gangsters left voice mails threatening their lives and those of their children, aged 5 and 2. On Aug. 17, Maria took a call at the house in which a man told her the Zetas would kill Balcorta “or a member of your family” unless she persuaded her husband to co-operate. They complained to police—twice—but the calls kept coming. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Sunday, August 9, 2009 at 11:00 PM - 35 Comments
The Prime Minister gives Mexico the It’s-Not-You-It’s-Me treatment.
“This is not the fault of the government of Mexico – let me be very clear about this,” Mr. Harper told reporters, explaining his mid-July decision to clamp down on soaring bogus refugee claims from Mexico by requiring Mexicans to obtain visas before entering Canada. “This is a problem in Canadian refugee law which encourages bogus claims.”
By selley - Friday, May 9, 2008 at 1:01 PM - 0 Comments
Must-reads: …Daphne Bramham on polygamy; Jeffrey Simpson on the refugee system; Susan Riley and
Must-reads: Daphne Bramham on polygamy; Jeffrey Simpson on the refugee system; Susan Riley and Chantal Hébert on l’affaire Bernier-Couillard; Rosie DiManno on the Afghan food shortage; Colby Cosh on uniting the Alberta left.
Bad, Canada. Bad!
From the Creston Valley to the Alberta oil sands to Ottawa—especially Ottawa—we should all be thoroughly ashamed of ourselves.
“Two generations have grown up during the period the B.C. government has hidden behind undisclosed legal opinions that polygamy is the cost of religious freedom and because someone somewhere says the government might lose in court,” the inimitable Daphne Bramham writes in the Vancouver Sun. Texas prosecutors have “plenty of evidence that abuse is endemic” among the dozens of children seized from their parents, she notes, but the province still hasn’t sent “any lawyers or social workers down to check on [Canadians among the victims], find out whether they went there willingly or even to take a look at what evidence Texas has collected.” It is time, she argues—still, again, and always—to put an end to this national embarrassment. (We particularly like her idea that the children of Bountiful might eventually launch a class action suit against the B.C. government for allowing them to be treated like low-grade veal. It would be the perfect comeuppance, we think.)